How to Get a Dog to Gain Weight: The Actionable Checklist

How to Get a Dog to Gain Weight

If your dog is too thin, you’re likely always worrying about them and wondering how you can get them to gain weight. Having an underweight dog can be very stressful, especially when they are not gaining weight.


You’re not alone – plenty of pet owners find themselves in this situation. 


Your dog’s weight as a pet may vary from one breed to another. You will need a body condition chart just to ensure that it weighs within the standard range, and if not, you will need to use some strategies to get your dog to gain weight.


Conditions like stress and illness may make your dog lack a healthy weight. Ensure you visit a veterinary doctor when you realize your dog is losing weight. 


This article will share a checklist of actionable steps that you can take to help your dog gain weight. Also included are helpful tips! 



1. Feed Your Dog with Foods That Have High Proteins and Exercise Your Dog

dog measured


Food rich in calories helps your dog put on additional weight within a very short time. For example, feeding your dog eggs will help it gain weight because they are rich in healthy proteins and fats are good for your dog’s muscles development. Eggs have amino acids that are essential for your dog and which your dog can’t produce naturally.


Exercising your dog is not for weight loss but rather to help your dog put on more muscle which translates to weight gain. A combination of high protein content foods to your dog and exercise allows your dog to maintain a healthy weight. Within no time, your dog will be fit and more masculine.



2. Visit A Veterinary Doctor

Immediately you realize that your dog is persistently losing weight and appetite at a very alarming rate, you need to take your pet to the veterinary doctor for a checkup.  


When your dog loses weight due to loss of appetite, it mostly comes as a result of the severe medical condition of your pet. You should visit a vet to rule out the possibility of a severe medical condition. If your dog has severe medical conditions, such as food poisoning, the vet will prescribe medication for your pet and even the food you can give to your pet during this period. Upon recovery, your pet will resume its normal eating habits, and within no time, it will gain weight



3. Try To Make Your Dog’s Food Yummier.

It may come to a point where your dog looks very uninterested in the regular food that you give it. This may happen when you are left in the dog’s care by the owner.


The dog may start to lose interest in the food you give as a caregiver because it suffers from separation anxiety, which simply means that it misses the owner.


Dogs do not just eat anything, as most people believe. They have a more sensitive nose than human beings. Ensure the bowl it feeds on is clean. Mixing fresh food with rotten food may make your dog refuse to eat.


Another example is giving your dog expired food. Always ensure that the food you are giving your dog has not expired. This is because expired food loses its original taste, which the dog may not find appealing.


With a clean bowl and fresh yummy, your dog will have an improved appetite, and it will start gaining weight.



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4. Provide Your Dog with A Stress-Free Environment

dog standing on grass


Stress can be a significant major cause of loss of appetite in many dogs. Stress may result from situations like:

  • Missing the owner — the dog may not feel safe with you as its dog sitter, but it will feel safer when you make it get used to you. You can do this by ensuring that you carry out daily feeding and exercise routines. Within no time, your dog will go back to its normal eating habits. 
  • Situational anxiety — dogs like their environment in a certain way apart from being sensitive. Any disruption from the normal will course stress to the dog, and it may stop eating. Research shows that stressors cause an imbalance of hormones in dogs. For example, in a situation where your dog is away from its pet parents, especially a puppy, it may stop eating because of depression. It will start losing weight. You may introduce another new pet of the same kind so that it can feel stress-free by seeing a member of the same species. It will be encouraged to eat and hence gain weight.
  • New environment — dogs that are new to an environment may lose appetite because of the unfamiliar surroundings. A good example is rescue dogs. When they are rescued and taken care of by a new caregiver in a new environment away from their actual owner, they may lose appetite and weight because, in the first few days in the new environment, they may skip a meal or two because they are not used to this environment. They are likely to end up losing weight. The best way is to allow this dog some time to settle in and get used to the new environment the eating routine of the day. 


5. Monitor Your Dog’s Weight on A Regular Basis, And Adjust Their Diet as Needed

If the dog starts to gain too much weight, scale back its diet a bit.


If your dog isn’t gaining enough weight, increase its daily calorie intake. Be patient and stick to a routine; your dog will start to gain weight over time.


Final Take Away

Like human beings, dogs also undergo situational events that may be related to stress levels, separation anxiety, and even underlying medical conditions that make them lose weight.


However, you can apply simple remedies such as taking your dog to the vet, changing its diet, understanding why your dog is stressed, and providing an enabling environment for your dog to gain its appetite back and revive its weight. Good luck!


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A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.